The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, was given out by President Barack Obama to 16 recipients. Among them: former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, the late astronaut Sally Ride and many more.
At Wednesday’s ceremonies the President said, “This is one of my favorite events every year. This year it’s just a little more special, because this marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy establishing this award.”
As reported by CNN, President Clinton is receiving the award for his public service in the White House and for founding, “the Clinton Foundation to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment,” according to the White House.
The White House said about Oprah, “Winfrey is one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists … best known for creating The Oprah Winfrey Show.” [she] “has long been active in philanthropic causes and expanding opportunities for young women.”
In a statement, Obama said the medal “goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.”
Other recipients included: Baseball player Ernie Banks, News editor Ben Bradlee, Member of Congress Daniel Inouye, scholar of psychology Daniel Kahneman, US Senate member Richard Lugar, country music legend Loretta Lynn, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Mario Molina, adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. Bayard Rustin, jazz musician Arturo Sandoval, basketball coach Dean Smith, feminist Gloria Steinem, civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, Court judge Patricia Wald.